What We Saw: Week 9

The QB List staff catches you up on everything you missed during Week 9 of the 2020 NFL season.

DolphinsΒ @ Cardinals


This contest between two of the most exciting young quarterbacks of the future did not disappoint – Tua Tagovailoa led the Miami Dolphins to a 34-31 victory over Kyler Murray and the beleaguered Arizona Cardinals. It was a 4th straight victory for the Fins as they stay in the hunt for a playoff spot in the AFC, something that was considered ludicrous at this time last year. Brian Flores‘ trust in Tua has been rewarded in scintillating fashion, with the former Alabama quarterback throwing for 2 TDs and sealing his 2nd victory in 2 starts since replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Much of the credit for this victory must go to the rejuvenated Dolphins defense, who sacked and stripped Murray on the Cardinals’ first drive, Shaq Lawson recovering the fumble and taking it to the house for an early lead.



They also stuffed the Cardinals on 4th down with less than 5 minutes remaining when the game was tied 31-31, allowing Jason Sanders to kick his 20th consecutive field goal (a new franchise record) to put them ahead. On the next drive, they stuffed the Cardinals again on 3rd down, forcing them into a long field goal which they missed. If you are in fantasy leagues with DST, Miami could be a sneaky good add – they are currently 31% rostered.


Miami Dolphins




Tua Tagovailoa: 20/28, 248 yards, 2 TDs, 3 sacks | 7 carries, 35 yards


If you were unsure as to whether the No.5 overall pick in the 2020 draft has what it takes to be a superstar NFL quarterback then rest assured, Tua Tagovailoa (21.42 fantasy points) displayed all the traits of a great signal-caller in this comeback win. He looked assured and aggressive on dropbacks, as we can see from this dime to Preston Williams, and he was equally impressive on the move, keeping his eyes downfield and showing elite vision to connect with moving targets.



He kept plays alive with his feet and moved the sticks at crucial times in the game. He led 3 touchdown drives – 10 plays, 65 yards; 8 plays, 80 yards; and 10 plays, 78 yards.



And when his team needed him to get the 1st down to ice the game, he showed toughness and heart.



It was an impressive performance behind an offensive line that still needs a lot of work and a number of key upgrades in the coming seasons. There were a few dicey moments, with two key mistakes that he was lucky to come out unscathed from – the first was a near interception when trying to throw the ball away out of bounds on a broken play; the second was an intentional grounding call after he fired a throwaway pass into the back of his right guard. Rookie stuff but something to be aware of. He is likely to make more mistakes before the season is out.

Still, for fantasy purposes, Tua showed he can do it all and if this early chemistry with his receivers continues to develop, he will be an exciting streaming option for the rest of the year.


Running Backs


Salvon Ahmed: 7 carries, 38 yards

Jordan Howard: 10 carries, 19 yards, 1 TD

Patrick Laird: 1 carries, -1 yard | 1 target, 1 reception, 17 yards


For those that expected the Dolphins to run the ball in this game, what were you thinking? This was always going to be a high-scoring affair and without the versatility of Myles Gaskin out of the backfield, the Fins concentrated on rushing mainly on early downs to set up the passing game. They ran the ball just twice in the red zone, one of those resulting in a score for Jordan Howard (7.90 fantasy points) – this was on Howard first taste of action since Week 4 and he is the forgotten man in Miami. He may vulture the odd goal-line carry but don’t expect RB2 numbers on a regular basis.



Undrafted free agent Salvon AhmedΒ (3.80 fantasy points) made his NFL debut and looked decent, however, he will likely revert back to the practice squad once the injured backs return. He is not a viable fantasy option going forward.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


DeVante Parker: 7 targets, 6 receptions, 64 yards

Preston Williams: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 60 yards, 1 TD

Mike Gesicki: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 42 yards

Jakeem Grant: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 35 yards

Durham Smythe: 1 target, 1 reception, 19 yards

Mack Hollins: 1 target, 1 reception, 11 yards, 1 TD

Adam Shaheen: 1 target

Malcolm Perry: 1 target


Everyone was worried about the prospects of this receiving room after “Fitzmagic” was benched and Tua threw for just 93 yards last week. What were we worried about?! Preston Williams (16.00 fantasy points) showed encouraging chemistry with Tua from the off, combining with his quarterback for a touchdown to put the Fins ahead in the 2nd quarter with a gutsy catch and dive into the end zone.



Williams exited the game with a foot injury shortly after and it looks like the oft-injured receiver could miss a few weeks at the very least. DeVante Parker (12.40 fantasy points) led the team in targets, receptions, and yardage, clearly benefitting down the stretch with Williams missing. It was comforting to see Tua build some trust with Parker late in the game, connecting with him 3 times for 36 yards on the game-tying touchdown drive that resulted in a first Dolphins touchdown for former Eagles receiver, Mack Hollins (8.10 fantasy points).



The breakout predicted for tight end Mike Gesicki (7.20 fantasy points) has fallen flat on its face after the 3rd-year tight end again failed to find paydirt, his last TD coming in Week 3. Despite Gesicki being plenty involved in the offense, he only offers up TE2 value right now. This is a situation to monitor as Tua grows into this offense, however.


Arizona Cardinals




Kyler Murray: 21/26, 283 yards, 3 TDs, 1 sack, 1 FUM | 11 carries, 106 yards, 1 TD


Despite the early blemish with the fumble on the strip-sack, Kyler Murray (37.92 fantasy points) was once again a fantasy darling by throwing for 3 passing touchdowns as well as adding a career-high 106 yards rushing and a score. The Cardinals’ passing defense was ranked 11th in pass defense DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) according to Football Outsiders, which makes this performance all the more impressive. It is safe to say that you no longer have to worry about the matchup with Kyler, he is a set-and-forget high-QB1 fantasy starter. This throw to Christian Kirk is what we love about him the most – nothing holds him back and he keeps pushing himself to improve. At 56.2 air yards, it was the longest completion of his career so far according to Next Gen Stats. He just makes fantastic plays week in, week out.



His rushing touchdown was equally impressive, capping off a wonderful 11-play, 80-yard drive where he sliced and diced his way through the Dolphins defense with consummate ease.Β  It could well be that Murray, and not Chase Edmonds, leads this team in rushing in the absence of Kenyan Drake going forward.



A late Zane Gonzalez field goal miss robbed us of more Tua and Kyler magic in overtime but we are already looking forward to seeing Kyler do his thing again against the Bills next week.


Running Backs


Chase Edmonds: 25 carries, 70 yards | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 18 yards

D.J. Foster: 1 carry, 2 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 7 yards


The most popular waiver-wire add of the last few weeks failed to take the opportunity given to him this week – Chase Edmonds (11.80 fantasy points) was limited to 2.8 yards per carry against an emerging Dolphins defensive front, with 6 yards being his longest gain on any single attempt. He still handled 95% of the backfield work for the 2nd week running, so he has tremendous upside until Drake returns.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Christian Kirk: 8 targets, 5 receptions, 123 yards, 1 TD

Larry Fitzgerald: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 54 yards

DeAndre Hopkins: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 30 yards

Darrell Daniels: 1 target, 1 reception, 21 yards, 1 TD

Andy Isabella: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 10 yards, 1 FUM

Dan Arnold: 1 target, 1 reception, 16 yards

Maxx Williams: 1 target, 1 reception, 14 yards, 1 TD


Let’s have another look at the route from Christian Kirk (23.30 fantasy points) on his touchdown, shall we?



Kirk was explosive in all aspects of the game, making a splash deep once again. Struggling with an injury early on in the year, since Kirk returned he has recorded 7 targets and/or a TD in each of his last 5 games. It was used all over the formations tonight and is becoming a complete receiver that Murray is willing to look towards more often.

It was a frustrating night for DeAndre Hopkins (6.00 fantasy points), who leads the NFL in receptions. Drawing all the attention from Dolphins shutdown corner Xavien Howard, Nuk was held without a single target in the first half. Howard did have 3 defensive pass interference calls against him but he was disruptive enough to ruin the day for Hopkins and those who have him rostered as their WR1. Expect Hopkins to see similar coverage in future weeks but it shouldn’t limit his production too heavily.

Murray was visibly frustrated last week with the tight end, Darrell Daniels (9.10 fantasy points), shouting at him on the field after he failed to make a routine block on a key play. All is forgiven this week as Daniels went up to steal away an INT from big-time corner Byron Jones to haul in a touchdown for his quarterback instead. What a play from the big man!



Daniels was the 2nd Cardinals TE to catch a touchdown pass after Maxx Williams (7.40 fantasy points), recently returned from the IR, opened the scoring for the Cardinals early doors. It is a messy situation in that tight end room and there is no telling which player can be consistently fantasy relevant. With the frequency of 11 and 12 personnel formations, however, there is plenty of opportunity for this unit in Arizona. Williams is a fantastic blocker and will see plenty of snaps if you are looking for a TE flier.



— Benjamin Haller (@benjaminhaller1 on Twitter)

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